Reddekopp was raised in Hepburn, Sask., a small community just a short drive north of Saskatoon. His childhood instilled in him a natural love of farming culture, but it wasn’t until he got his first job working in the field that he saw a true calling in the area.
“I started working at an independent retailer just after high school and really fell in love with farming,” he said. “I was doing manual labour and then started interacting with customers and different people in the industry. I saw there was a great opportunity there.”
Flash-forward to today and Reddekopp is graduating from the University of Saskatchewan at Spring Convocation with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, majoring in agronomy and with a minor in agribusiness, having completed four years in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources.
But Reddekopp didn’t always envision a full bachelor’s degree for himself. When he first came to the U of S, he enrolled in a two-year diploma program. He’d set his sights on getting in and out of school quickly, and finding work just as fast afterward. Instead, he was surprised to discover he wanted to stick around.
“I enjoyed school and had always done well at it, so I didn’t see it as a burden to come back for another two years,” he said.
Reddekopp treated his education as a full-time job from day one, an attitude that yielded results both academic and financial. By time of graduation, he’s received a combined total of 17 awards, scholarships and bursaries which he said greatly eased the cost of his schooling.
“My wife and I are both in school, so it’s not easy to make it through when neither of us have full-time jobs,” he said. “It was a huge blessing to see that other people are willing to donate to the university. It’s an honour to be a recipient of that money.”
In the third year of his program, Reddekopp joined with two business partners to form Westgreen Crop Inspections and Agriculture Advisory Services. Westgreen offers agronomy services for grain producers and crop inspection services for pedigreed seed growers. “I basically have my dream job,” said Reddekopp, who also assists closely on his wife’s family farm.
“I work with a lot of good farmers in the area, right where I grew up. I have a great job opportunity, with great people and good business partners and I’m also involved in the farm, which I’ve always wanted as well.”
Reddekopp has no plans to pursue a master’s for the time being, but he’s leaving that door open as a future possibility.
In the meanwhile, he credits the U of S for many of the successes he’s found in recent years, including the relationships he’s built, the opportunities that have come his way and his expansive, global perspective on agriculture.
“It’s given me a lot better sense of where we sit here in Saskatchewan, even Saskatoon, or the little town of Hepburn,” he said. “It gives you a better understanding of why things happen and how they affect things right down to the farm—why something in Russia or South America might be affecting what our grain prices are here.”